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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

6 Simple Habits That'll Make Mondays Suck Less

Monday. Let’s start by letting out an exhausted sigh together, shall we?

Face it—not too many of us look forward to the start of the week. The forced transition from fun and relaxation to the grind of the workweek can feel brutal at best. Add in the fact that—due to those two carefree days you spent away from the office—it is often the most stressful and busy part of the week, and it’s no wonder we all want to sob into our pillows when our alarms ring.

I’m not going to make a grand promise that you’ll ever learn to love Mondays (hey, do I look like Criss Angel?). But, there are a few simple things you can do to make them suck at least a little bit less.

1. Go to Bed Early

Making Monday more tolerable actually starts before that dreaded day ever actually rolls around. If you want to set yourself up for beginning-of-the-week success, you should actually start on Sunday.

The best thing you can do? Hit the hay early. Sure, maybe your sleep schedule’s all screwed up from your two days of late-night TV binge sessions. Or, maybe you’ve convinced yourself it’s important that you stay up to finish all of those other things you were supposed to be doing instead of that aforementioned binging (laundry, anyone?).

Resist the temptation and climb into bed earlier so that you can start your week off feeling at least somewhat rested and recharged. Plus, science says it’ll do your brain a lot of good.

2. Chug a Glass of Water

We’re all familiar with that desperate sprint to the nearest mug of coffee. If there was ever a day when we wish we could be hooked up to an IV of caffeine, this would be it.

But, perhaps you should consider switching out that mug you chug first thing in the morning for a glass of cold water.

Hear me out. Recent research has shown that 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration—which can result in fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and a slew of other not-so-pleasant symptoms.

That’s pretty much the last thing you need, right? So, do yourself a favor and reach for that H20 instead.

3. Avoid Morning Meetings

The start of the week might feel like the perfect time for a meeting—it’s a chance for everyone to get caught up and on the same page for the next few days.

However, while there's nothing wrong with Monday meetings, it’s better if you reserve any of those sit-downs for later in the afternoon. Why? Well, whether you feel like it or not, research indicates that it’s actually a time when we’re at our most energetic and creative. So, with that in mind, it’s best if you can use your this time for real, productive work—rather than taking notes in a meeting or zoning out in a conference room.

Plus, saving those chats for later on will give everyone a chance to get a handle on what their upcoming week looks like, meaning your meeting will be that much better.

4. Start With Something Productive

Alright, so maybe science claims that you’re at your peak closer earlier on in the day. But, I think we can all agree that it can still be pretty tough to get rolling right away.

Even so, you and your brain will benefit if you can make your best effort to get started on some real, meaningful work as soon as possible. Rather than treating the first few hours of Monday as your chance to catch up on all of that normal housekeeping stuff—think checking emails, writing endless lists, and chatting with co-workers about their weekends—get started on completing a larger task or project immediately.

By beginning your day with a win (even just a small one), you’ll kick your focus, motivation, and overall satisfaction up a notch—it’s a concept called the “Progress Principle.

Me? I start each Monday by writing one entire article (ahem, like this very article) that’s due that week—before I even so much as check my email. Getting a bigger thing accomplished right away keeps me motivated to keep chugging along through the rest of the day.

5. Do Something You Enjoy

Monday can be a bit of a drag. Fortunately, you can pick your spirits up a little by ensuring that you leave a little bit of time for something you enjoy.

Whether it’s a workout class you love, a happy hour with friends, a walk during your lunch break, or even some quiet time to sit down and read, reserving some “you time” will save you from viewing Monday as such a no-good, terrible day.

Yes, it may signify the start of the work week. But, that doesn’t mean it needs to be all work and no play.

6. Smile

Did you see this last point and roll your eyes? I can’t really blame you—I’ll be the first to admit that it sounds a little cheesy. But, trust me, there is some science and a few hard facts that come into play here.

Even if you start off in a totally sour mood, do your best to paste a smile on your face a few times —it could serve to actually make you happier. Charles Darwin was one of the first to propose the idea when he said, “The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it,” and more recent research supports the idea.

So, if you’re in need of a quick mood booster bright and early in the AM (and, honestly, who isn’t?), just show those pearly whites.

Are there any tips or tactics you implement to make Mondays a little more tolerable? Let me know on Twitter!

Photo of people smiling courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.